Atlantis: The Lost Tales Soundtrack, Pierre Estève / Stéphane Picq, 1997
By the second half of the 1990s, French developer Cryo Interactive had found its niche: lavishly produced, Myst-style adventure games. The reception of these titles amongst critics remained somewhat ambivalent, but there’s no denying that Cryo’s approach was effective. Their most significant success might well have been Atlantis: The Lost Tales. Reviewers praised Atlantis’ visuals and intense atmosphere, bolstered by panoramic 360-degree first-person views of the pre-rendered environments and significant amounts of pre-recorded speech. At the same time, perceived gameplay flaws once again often resulted in average scores. That didn’t stop the game from selling more than 300,000 copies by late 1998, starting a franchise that would generate four more titles in future years and outlast Cryo itself.
Scoring duties for the Atlantis: The Lost Tales soundtrack went to Pierre Estève and Stéphane Picq. Picq had been Cryo’s main composer since the company’s very beginning, writing the entrancing music for its breakthrough hit Dune. Estève was a more recent addition to Cryo’s musical team, approaching the developer in 1995 after working as a rock musician and composer for French television and radio. His first project with Cryo turned out to be Dragon Lore II: The Heart of the Dragon Man. Estève would create the music and sound effects for several other Cryo titles in the years to follow, even remaining with the Atlantis franchise after the developer had closed its doors in 2002. His anthropological interest in a vast range of musical cultures – witnessed by his solo albums Bamboo and Metal – was a perfect match for Picq’s eclectic composition style.